Boxers are prone to quite a few disorders. They have been inbred for over 100 years and in order to keep their appearance, there are several associated disorders. The breed also has one particular congenital defect related to coat color.
Deafness: Somewhere between 20-40% of white puppies will be deaf in one or both ears. Such dogs were once put down to keep the trait from spreading, as long as there’s white in the breed, 1/4 of the pups will come out white when normal dogs are bred. They’re not allowed to compete in show, but may participate in competitive trials such as agility and obedience.
Heat disorders: Aortic Stenosis and Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy are both congenital defects that manifest when your Boxer is older.
Metabolic disorders: Hypothyroidism, bloat and intestinal problems are all somewhat common in Boxers. Very careful diet maintenance, including several small feedings per day, can help keep the instance of these conditions down.
Allergies: These are often diet related and can often be mitigated that way.
Phyiscal deformities: Sometimes boxer puppies have eyelids that are deformed. This condition, called entropion, can be corrected by surgery.
Taking care of their coat is a very simple affair, since there is so little of it. A regular rubbing with a hound cloth is often enough, though many boxers like the skin stimulation of a rubber comb.
They are very clean dogs and often will actually keep themselves preened like a cat. Usually if they do require a bath, it\’s more of an annual event than a regularly scheduled one.
Their nails are never black, so it’s easy for owners to clip them. Be sure to keep an eye on their dewclaws if not removed – they don’t wear down with regular exercise as the other claws do and may need trimming as often as every week or two.
Boxers that have had their ears bobbed should have their ears regularly examined for was build up and the presence of mites. You should never, ever put q-tips in your dog’s ear canal. Instead you should pull the ear up and use a gauze pad around the tip of your finger to clean around the outside of the ear canal.
If a Boxer’s ears are manipulated when he or she is young, there will be a period of recovery from the surgery, often a week or two at least. Usually your dog will come home with ear splints. Sometimes an Elizabethan collar is used, but many owners are able to keep the dog from too vigorously shaking his or her ears and scratching at them by simply keeping an eye on them.
It’s a very good idea to get your pup used to having grooming done by touching his or her ears and paws regularly when they’re young. Your dog’s minimal “beauty” sessions should be pleasant events that result in treats and praise. If they choose to resist, they can put up quite a fight.
Boxers are large dogs that can certainly benefit from at least an hour of good exercise every day. Joggers will find them perfect workout companions – walks aren’t usually quite enough and they need them every day without fail.
They do best when allowed to run around in a rural environment, though many urban owners are able to successfully keep them in small spaces if there’s a large park nearby. Off-leash dog parks are ideally suited to the urban or suburban Boxer.
When letting them run around in even a large yard, you should take extra care to be sure the fence is absolutely secure. These dogs have been known to pick locks and jump over fences – they are prone to escape, though usually not roving as long as male dogs are altered.
Boxers require a great deal of firm training to keep their exuberance in check. Training should begin when they’re quite young, since they can become difficult to handle even when still puppies since they’re so large and strong.
Though you should be consistent and firm with Boxers (and many other large dogs), they do not respond to punitive punishment. It is best to set things up so they can’t help but succeed, then reward them for it. Some small treats and praise should be used in conjunction for the desired result.
Some lines can be hyperactive and there is little to be done with such dogs other than trying to wear them out in a rural setting. When buying a pup it is good to check the parents for this trait, as they can have a hard time settling down to learn when too wound up.
Almost all puppies are fun-loving clowns that take a few years to really grow up from a psychological point of view. Because they are intelligent, you should never underestimate their ability to break out. Their soft mouths have been known to manipulate locks on doors when left to the task long enough.
Housebreaking is usually quick since Boxers are so fastidious. Keeping an eye on your dog and shuffling them outside whenever they start towards the door or sniffing will give them a chance to get it right and earn your treats and respect. The key with this type of training vigilance upon your part, tough at least these dogs are large enough that they won’t be able to sneak under the furniture and get away with it
Many people have had good result with using crates. As long a they’re large enough for your dog to stand up and turn around in, they will come to think of them as a home and refuge. Of course, such a crate for a Boxer is rather large, so most people use classical methods of training.
Though somewhat stubborn, Boxers do generally want to please, and it’s up to you to make them actually want to follow your commands. Aggression should be nipped in the bud, though most boxers are simply enthusiastic and curious.